Came across this illustration recently in a different context than church, but the sentiment is the same. You treat someone like a slice of bread when you try to butter them up! It’s also called flattery. Consider Proverbs 26:28, “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.“ (NKJ) See also Proverbs 29:5, “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” (NKJ)
One church I attended had social times after their services at which the women of the church would serve heavily buttered bread. My siblings and I still refer to these as “_______ sandwiches” in honor of that particular church. They consisted of a slice of bread spread with a thick layer of butter, over which was spread another layer of butter, which in turn was topped with yet another layer of butter. Yum! Butter was cheaper in those days.
Over the years I have been “buttered” by a variety of people, but probably no more so than by one particular family (who will remain anonymous). Sadly, while they buttered the bread publicly with one hand, they worked hard at privately scraping what they perceived as burnt toast with the other. You understand, I think. The mushy compliments that flowed on Sunday after the sermon were certainly spread on thick, sometimes with tears in their eyes and on their cheeks. Yet I soon began to realize that it was not butter that was being spread. Years later I came to learn that the family would spread it on thick after the service, but once they got home would scrape it off and tear me to shreds in front of their children. No wonder their children exhibited the attitudes they did.
By all means, it is not wrong to compliment your pastor. Express your gratitude in a Godward manner. Encourage him in a God-centered way. But do him and yourself a favor; be sincere when you talk with him. Don’t lie to him about your response to what you just heard. A Biblically appropriate compliment can be a great complement to a life transformed by the power of God’s Spirit using the Word of God for the glory of God and for the good of God’s people. Don’t treat your pastor like a slice of bread.